Those who enjoy hiking as a regular activity should be sure to employ foot care while on the trail to avoid potential pain and injury. The first step to maintaining proper foot care while hiking is to be aware of one’s surroundings. Many hiking-related foot injuries and conditions often occur as a result of not being aware while on the trail: rolled ankles, broken toes, and blisters. When hiking, be sure to wear shoes that are breathable and that either dry quickly or are waterproof. When trying on hiking boots or shoes, finding a great fit is important. With modern innovations in footwear, hiking boots are becoming lighter and more comfortable.
Everyday foot care is very important to prevent infection and other foot ailments. If you need your feet checked, contact one of our podiatrists from Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
Everyday Foot Care
Often, people take care of their bodies, face and hair more so than they do for their feet. But the feet are a very important aspect of our bodies, and one that we should pay more attention to. Without our feet, we would not be able to perform most daily tasks.
It is best to check your feet regularly to make sure there are no new bruises or cuts that you may not have noticed before. For dry feet, moisturizer can easily be a remedy and can be applied as often as necessary to the affected areas. Wearing shoes that fit well can also help you maintain good foot health, as well as making it easier to walk and do daily activities without the stress or pain of ill-fitting shoes, high heels, or even flip flops. Wearing clean socks with closed shoes is important to ensure that sweat and bacteria do not accumulate within the shoe. Clean socks help to prevent Athlete’s foot, fungi problems, bad odors, and can absorb sweat.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Shillington and Hamburg, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.Read more about Every Day Foot Care
Gout is one of the most commonly recorded medical conditions throughout the world’s history. This condition is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the joints. Uric acid comes from purines, which are found in meat products. The body can’t always get rid of all the uric acid, and this results in the formation of crystals which accumulate in the joints. Gout usually occurs near the big toe, and its symptoms include pain, swelling, tenderness, and reddish discoloration. Unfortunately, the pain associated with gout could last for days. You are more likely to have gout if you have high blood pressure, a heavy alcohol intake, or if you take diuretics. Be sure to watch your diet, and consult with a meddical professional.
Gout is a foot condition that requires certain treatment and care. If you are seeking treatment, contact one of our podiatrists from Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.
What is Gout?
Gout is a type of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in the bloodstream. It often develops in the foot, especially the big toe area, although it can manifest in other parts of the body as well. Gout can make walking and standing very painful and is especially common in diabetics and the obese.
People typically get gout because of a poor diet. Genetic predisposition is also a factor. The children of parents who have had gout frequently have a chance of developing it themselves.
Gout can easily be identified by redness and inflammation of the big toe and the surrounding areas of the foot. Other symptoms include extreme fatigue, joint pain, and running high fevers. Sometimes corticosteroid drugs can be prescribed to treat gout, but the best way to combat this disease is to get more exercise and eat a better diet.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Shillington and Hamburg, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.Read more about Everything You Need to Know About Gout
In a recent study conducted in the Boston area, correlations between obesity, foot pain, and foot disorders were investigated. The sample size of the study was 2445 men and women with an average age of 68. In men, severe obesity, defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 35 kg/m^2 or more, was found to be associated with foot pain. For women, both moderate (30-34.99) and severe obesity were associated with foot pain. The general conclusion of the study was that regardless of foot posture and dynamic foot function, as one’s BMI increased the likelihood of foot pain increased as well.
Obesity has become very problematic at this point in time and can have extremely negative effects on the feet. If you’re an obese individual and are concerned about your feet, contact one of our podiatrists from Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
Obesity and your Feet
Since your feet are what support your entire weight when standing, any additional weight can result in pain and swelling. Being overweight is one of the main contributors to foot complications.
Problems & Complications
Extra Weight – Even putting on just a few extra pounds could create serious complications for your feet. As your weight increases, your balance and body will shift, creating new stresses on your feet. This uneven weight distribution can cause pain, even while doing the simplest tasks, such as walking.
Diabetes – People who are overweight are at serious risk of developing type-2 diabetes, which has a drastic impact on the health of your feet. As you get older, your diabetes might worsen, which could lead to loss of feeling in your feet, sores, and bruises. You could also become more prone to various infections.
Plantar fasciitis – Pressure and stress that is placed on muscles, joints, and tendons can trigger plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of tissue that forms along the bottom of the foot.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Shillington and Hamburg, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.Read more about How Obesity Affects Your Feet
If you have hammertoes, it may be due to a number of factors including improperly-fitting shoes or muscle and nerve diseases that can affect your feet. Hammertoes are described as bent and curled toes, seeming to resemble the claw of a hammer. The condition is permanent and may require treatment if pain progresses. Typical treatment includes wearing the proper footwear and physical therapy. A final option is surgery for severe cases, but consulting with your podiatrist first about your condition is recommended before deciding on the surgical option.
Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact one of our podiatrists from Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.
Hammertoe is a foot deformity that affects the joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes of your feet. It is a painful foot condition in which these toes curl and arch up, which can often lead to pain when wearing footwear.
- Pain in the affected toes
- Development of corns or calluses due to friction
- Contracture of the toes
Genetics – People who are genetically predisposed to hammertoe are often more susceptible
Arthritis – Because arthritis affects the joints in your toes, further deformities stemming from arthritis can occur
Trauma – Direct trauma to the toes could potentially lead to hammertoe
Ill-fitting shoes – Undue pressure on the front of the toes from ill-fitting shoes can potentially lead to the development of hammertoe
Orthotics – Custom made inserts can be used to help relieve pressure placed on the toes and therefore relieve some of the pain associated with it
Medications – Oral medications such as anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs could be used to treat the pain and inflammation hammertoes causes. Injections of corticosteroids are also sometimes used
Surgery – In more severe cases where the hammertoes have become more rigid, foot surgery is a potential option
If you have any questions please contact one of our offices located in Shillington and Hamburg, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.Read more about What Are Hammertoes?
If your feet feel cold, especially during these winter months, it is because it is your body’s natural response for conserving heat when it is too cold. Your body “tries to maintain its internal temperature by constricting small blood vessels under the surface of the skin. This allows more blood to move deeper in the body, so your core stays warm.” However, this causes your body’s extremities, like the feet, to receive poor blood circulation. When taking care of your cold feet, try to wear warm, breathable socks that help wick away moisture. Opt for wool in place of cotton. Other methods include warming your feet up in warm water, drinking hot liquids, moving around to get your blood circulation going, and investing in shoe inserts to help insulate the insides of your shoes.
Poor circulation is a serious condition and needs immediate medical attention. If you have any concerns with poor circulation in your feet contact one of our podiatrists of Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.
Poor Circulation in the Feet
Poor blood circulation in the feet and legs is can be caused by peripheral artery disease (PAD), which is the result of a buildup of plaque in the arteries.
Plaque buildup or atherosclerosis results from excess calcium and cholesterol in the bloodstream. This can restrict the amount of blood which can flow through the arteries. Poor blood circulation in the feet and legs are sometimes caused by inflammation in the blood vessels, known as vasculitis.
Lack of oxygen and oxygen from poor blood circulation restricts muscle growth and development. It can also cause:
- Muscle pain, stiffness, or weakness
- Numbness or cramping in the legs
- Skin discoloration
- Slower nail & hair growth
- Erectile dysfunction
Those who have diabetes or smoke are at greatest risk for poor circulation, as are those who are over 50. If you have poor circulation in the feet and legs it may be caused by PAD, and is important to make changes to your lifestyle in order to reduce risk of getting a heart attack or stroke. Exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will dramatically improve conditions.
As always, see a podiatrist as he or she will assist in finding a regimen that suits you. A podiatrist can also prescribe you any needed medication.
Osteoarthritis, sometimes called the “wear and tear” arthritis, is a degenerative joint disease that occurs when the cartilage between the joints breaks down. This can be very painful, especially in the feet. One way of treating a disease like this is the use of platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy. To start, blood is procured from the patient and then processed to prepare the custom injections. The injections promote healing of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles, joints, and other soft tissues. There is minimal risk to the patient because the plasma given is from the patient’s very own blood. Studies show that PRP injections can significantly reduce pain in osteoarthritic patients and improve quality of life.
What is PRP?
Platelet Rich Plasma, or PRP, is blood taken from a patient and spun in a centrifuge, concentrating the amount of platelets. The plasma is then re-injected into the site of injury or damage, assisting the body in repairing damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments, and tissue. PRP helps the body speed up its healing process.
Uses of PRP
Injuries affecting the foot sometimes don’t heal properly because of poor blood circulation. The healing time slows down and recovery time is affected by poor blood supply. PRP injections will speed up recovery and resolve this issue.
PRP is the first regenerative treatment for damaged muscles, tendons, and ligaments. No surgery needed. It is only applied with an insertion of a needle.
Ultrasound – An ultrasound is needed for proper placement of the platelets.
Injection – When the first injection is received, the patient will return to the doctor in about 2 to 3 weeks and monitor the recovery process.
Recovery time – Some people respond to treatments differently. Therefore, depending on your condition, the doctor will make any remaining decisions on how many more injections are needed, or if any additional ones are even required.
One may be able to avoid major surgery, and recovery time will be cut down. PRP injections also avoid creating scar tissue and damage to the area. Risks are also very low using PRP as a treatment. There is no risk of rejection, contracting a disease from using another person’s blood, or infection.
Among foot conditions, calluses and corns are often seen as some of the more harmless concerns. Regardless, if a callus does become troublesome, there are methods available for removal. Because calluses are essentially small areas of thick, hardened skin, softening calluses can help aid in their removal. Soaking the feet in warm water and avoiding using harsh soaps while washing can help maintain softness of the skin. Hard areas can also be buffed away using a pumice stone. If you are suffering from calluses and seek ways to remove them, consult with your podiatrist.
Corns: What are they? And how do you get rid of them?
Corns can be described as areas of the skin that have thickened to the point of becoming painful or irritating. They are often layers and layers of the skin that have become dry and rough, and are normally smaller than calluses.
Ways to Prevent Corns
There are many ways to get rid of painful corns such as wearing:
- Well-fitting socks
- Comfortable shoes that are not tight around your foot
- Shoes that offer support
Treatment of corns involves removing the dead skin that has built up in the specific area of the foot. Consult with Our doctors to determine the best treatment option for your case of corns.
Running can be a very effective way to stay in shape, burn calories and increase your overall health, both mental and physical. However, pounding the pavement is exactly what your feet are doing, and this can lead to some serious foot and ankle issues. The ground that we run on is generally a hard surface, so the constant impact of our feet is something that needs to be taken into consideration when running often. Some tips to consider would be to try finding a track surface to run on. Though this option may not be available to all, the surface is made to absorb some of the shock of the impact, thereby reducing the stress on your joints and muscles. Shoes should be well-fitting and there are insoles available that also may help absorb the shock.
Exercising your feet regularly with the proper foot wear is a great way to prevent injuries. If you have any concerns about your feet, contact one of our podiatrists of Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.
How to Prevent Running Injuries
Many common running injuries are caused by overuse and overtraining. When the back of the kneecap starts wearing out and starts causing pain in your knee, this is commonly referred to as runner’s knee. Runner’s knee is a decrease in strength in your quadriceps and can occur if you’re not wearing properly fitted or supporting shoes. To prevent runner’s knee, focusing on hip strengthening is a good idea, as well as strengthening your quads to keep the kneecaps aligned.
What Are Some Causes of Running Injuries?
- One cause of a common running injury is called iliotibial band syndrome.
- Plantar fasciitis is also another common injury.
- Stress fractures can occur from overtraining, lack of calcium, or even your running style.
Best Ways to Prevent Running Injuries
- Wear footwear that fits properly and suits your running needs.
- Running shoes are the only protective gear that runners have to safeguard them from injury.
- Make a training schedule. Adding strengthening exercises as well as regular stretching can help keep you strong and limber and can lessen the possibility of injuries.
- Stretching keeps muscles limber; this will help you gain better flexibility.
High heels have long held the stigma of being uncomfortable and unconventional for daily wear and for work. Health risks such as nerve damage, early arthritis, and long-term joint pain all come with long-term wear. Emerging business women, however, are looking to turn that notion around and develop high heels that do not damage the feet as much. Dolly Singh, CEO of a footwear company, is collaborating with designer Julia Thomas to create an office-friendly collection. When starting her brand, Singh recruited rocket scientists from SpaceX, along with a number of engineers to develop shoes. Her new collection will reportedly reduce the amount of pressure typically placed on the toes and the balls of the feet, using aerospace-grade foam and redesigned heels.
High heels have a history of causing foot and ankle problems. If you have any concerns about your feet or ankles, contact one of our podiatrists from Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
Effects of High Heels on the Feet
High heels are popular shoes among women because of their many styles and societal appeal. Despite this, high heels can still cause many health problems if worn too frequently.
Which parts of my body will be affected by high heels?
- Ankle Joints
- Achilles Tendon – May shorten and stiffen with prolonged wear
- Balls of the Feet
- Knees – Heels cause the knees to bend constantly, creating stress on them
- Back – They decrease the spine’s ability to absorb shock, which may lead to back pain. The vertebrae of the lower back may compress.
What kinds of foot problems can develop from wearing high heels?
- Morton’s Neuroma
- Plantar Fasciitis
How can I still wear high heels and maintain foot health?
If you want to wear high heeled shoes, make sure that you are not wearing them every day, as this will help prevent long term physical problems. Try wearing thicker heels as opposed to stilettos to distribute weight more evenly across the feet. Always make sure you are wearing the proper shoes for the right occasion, such as sneakers for exercising. If you walk to work, try carrying your heels with you and changing into them once you arrive at work. Adding inserts to your heels can help cushion your feet and absorb shock. Full foot inserts or metatarsal pads are available.
Ankle pain is a condition that can affect anyone at any age. Depending on the severity of the condition, this pain can be very debilitating, limiting mobility and the ability to perform in sports or certain activities in one’s daily life. In growing children, ankle pain can manifest in the form of Sever’s disease. Sever’s disease is a condition in which the ankle’s calcaneus bone is not fully fused together, creating pain should the Achilles tendon pull on the area where it attaches. The condition typically develops in children who are very active. Along with pain, other symptoms include swelling and tenderness.
Sever's disease often occurs in children and teens. If your child is experiencing foot or ankle pain, see one of our podiatrists at Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors can treat your child’s foot and ankle needs.
Sever’s disease is also known as calcaneal apophysitis, which is a medical condition that causes heel pain I none or both feet. The disease is known to affect children between the ages of 8 and 14.
Sever’s disease occurs when part of the child’s heel known as the growth plate (calcaneal epiphysis) is attached to the Achilles tendon. This area can suffer injury when the muscles and tendons of the growing foot do not keep pace with bone growth. Therefore, the constant pain which one experiences at the back of the heel will make the child unable to put any weight on the heel. The child is then forced to walk on their toes.
Acute pain – Pain asscoiatied with Sever’s disease is usually felt in the heel when the child engages in physical activity such as walking, jumping and or running.
Highly active – Children who are very active are among the most susceptible in experiencing Sever’s disease, because of the stress and tension placed on their feet.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Shillington and Hamburg, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle injuries.Read more about Sever's Disease
Chicago Bulls' guard Cameron Payne, since being traded from the Oklahoma Thunder last year, is still having right foot problems. Last summer Payne was having pain in his foot, which eventually led to stress fracture surgery. Since the surgery Payne’s foot has been on the fritz. In training camp, he aggravated the surgical screw in his foot. Though he didn’t have a second surgery after this incident, the pain had lingered. Being that Payne has only been with the Bulls since February 23, he has been working overtime learning the offense. The pain has returned and now he’s back on the bench. In his own words, “I just need to take a little time off it.”
Activities where too much pressure is put on the feet can cause stress fractures. To learn more, contact one of our podiatrists from Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep your pain free and on your feet.
Dealing with Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle
Stress fractures occur in the foot and ankle when muscles in these areas weaken from too much or too little use. The feet and ankles then lose support when walking or running from the impact of the ground. Since there is no protection, the bones receive the full impact of each step. Stress on the feet can cause cracks to form in the bones, thus creating stress fractures.
What are Stress Fractures?
Stress fractures occur frequently in individuals whose daily activities cause great impact on the feet and ankles. Stress factors are most common among:
- People affected with Osteoporosis
- Tennis or basketball players
- High impact workouts
Pain from the fractures occur in the area of the fractures and can be constant or intermittent. It will often cause sharp or dull pain with swelling and tenderness. Engaging in any kind of activity which involves high impact will aggravate pain.
An ingrown toenail is one of the most common foot conditions to develop, particularly among adolescents, though for unknown reasons. In more common cases, an infection caused by an ingrown toenail may be treated by prescription antibiotics. But while this may clear the immediate infection, if the nail continues to cut into the flesh the infection can return. In extreme cases, the entire toenail may need to be removed. Consult with your podiatrist to determine the best treatment for your case.
Ingrown toenails can become painful if they are not treated properly. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact one of our podiatrists of Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
Ingrown toenails occur when a toenail grows sideways into the bed of the nail, causing pain, swelling, and possibly infection.
- Bacterial infections
- Improper nail cutting such as cutting it too short or not straight across
- Trauma to the toe, such as stubbing, which causes the nail to grow back irregularly
- Ill-fitting shoes that bunch the toes too close together
- Genetic predisposition
Because ingrown toenails are not something found outside of shoe-wearing cultures, going barefoot as often as possible will decrease the likeliness of developing ingrown toenails. Wearing proper fitting shoes and using proper cutting techniques will also help decrease your risk of developing ingrown toenails.
Ingrown toenails are a very treatable foot condition. In minor cases, soaking the affected area in salt or antibacterial soaps will not only help with the ingrown nail itself, but also help prevent any infections from occurring. In more severe cases, surgery is an option. In either case, speaking to your podiatrist about this condition will help you get a better understanding of specific treatment options that are right for you.
Corey Kispert, a senior at King’s High and a soon to be freshman at Gonzaga, suffered a broken metatarsal. He had been feeling pain in his right foot since a basketball tournament around Christmas and after doctors had told him it was just a stress fracture, continued to play. However, during the next game, in the middle of a layup, Kispert “felt a pop” in both of his feet. X-rays showed an old fracture in his left foot and a broken metatarsal in his right. Surgery was performed on the broken metatarsal and Kispert is expected to be able to start his college basketball career on time.
Foot surgery is sometimes necessary to treat a foot ailment. To learn more, contact one of our podiatrists of Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors will assist you with all of your foot and ankle needs.
When Is Surgery Necessary?
Foot and ankle surgery is generally reserved for cases in which less invasive, conservative procedures have failed to alleviate the problem. Some of the cases in which surgery may be necessary include:
- Removing foot deformities like bunions and bone spurs
- Severe arthritis that has caused bone issues
- Cosmetic reconstruction
What Types of Surgery Are There?
The type of surgery you receive will depend on the nature of the problem you have. Some of the possible surgeries include:
- Bunionectomy for painful bunions
- Surgical fusion for realignment of bones
- Neuropathy decompression surgery to treat nerve damage
Benefits of Surgery
Although surgery is usually a last resort, it can provide more complete pain relief compared to non-surgical methods and may allow you to finally resume full activity.
Surgical techniques have also become increasingly sophisticated. Techniques like endoscopic surgery allow for smaller incisions and faster recovery times.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was recently seen limping in public, possibly due to his history of suffering from tarsal tunnel syndrome. The condition arises from the compression of the tibial nerve in the foot. The occurrence itself happened during a broadcasted report on the leader’s inspection visit to North Korea’s Kangwon Province. Symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome include a burning pain at the sole of the foot, numbness, or tingling. Treatment for tarsal tunnel syndrome may include anti-inflammatory medications and orthotics.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome can be very uncomfortable to live with. If you are experiencing tarsal tunnel syndrome, contact one of our podiatrists of Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Tarsal tunnel syndrome, which can also be called tibial nerve dysfunction, is an uncommon condition of misfiring peripheral nerves in the foot. The tibial nerve is the peripheral nerve in the leg responsible for sensation and movement of the foot and calf muscles. In tarsal tunnel syndrome, the tibial nerve is damaged, causing problems with movement and feeling in the foot of the affected leg.
Common Cause of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
- Involves pressure or an injury, direct pressure on the tibial nerve for an extended period of time, sometimes caused by other body structures close by or near the knee.
- Diseases that damage nerves, including diabetes, may cause tarsal tunnel syndrome.
- At times, tarsal tunnel syndrome can appear without an obvious cause in some cases.
The Effects of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
- Different sensations, an afflicted person may experience pain, tingling, burning or other unusual sensations in the foot of the affected leg.
- The foot muscles, toes and ankle become weaker, and curling your toes or flexing your foot can become difficult.
- If condition worsens, infections and ulcers may develop on the foot that is experiencing the syndrome.
A physical exam of the leg can help identify the presence of tarsal tunnel syndrome. Medical tests, such as a nerve biopsy, are also used to diagnose the condition. Patients may receive physical therapy and prescriptive medication. In extreme cases, some may require surgery.